client: Province of Zeeland, Province House the Abbey | Middelburg, September 2018
assignment: Renovation, sustainability, restoration and redesign of the Librije
The Abbey in Middelburg has been the center of power and politics in Zeeland since 1574. The 'de Librije' building is part of the Abbey and has had many functions over the centuries. Originally the name Librije stands for monastery library - libraria in Latin. From 1579 Zeeland's own currency was minted in the Librije.
After the fire in 1940 due to shelling by the Germans (or the Allies), the Abbey went largely into flames. Reconstruction started during the war and in 1960 the Abbey was opened by the then Queen Juliana. The 'Roosevelt Institute for American Studies' has also been housed in the Librije for a while.
Due to the many functions, not much is left of the original historic interior. In the 1970s, the Librije was provided with a layout with office spaces, giving the building a completely different layout than the original structure. M+R has redesigned the historic building: A modern working environment, a flexible and open structure. The building has been completely stripped, partially rebuilt and restored with biobased sustainable materials.
The interventions have created beautiful large spaces where the daylight comes in beautifully. The 'new' Librije is now an innovative working environment in a historic environment that offers space for collaboration, meeting and development for and for the employees of the Province of Zeeland. Sustainable and connecting are the central theme.